Holiday Wine Tasting Party

We had some friends over on Sunday for a wine and cheese party. The party was a lot of fun, good atmosphere, good food, good wine, and good friends!

The wine:

WHITES

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Kono Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – this was brought by one of my friends. Light and crispy, it was a big hit!

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Waltz Vineyard Chardonnay – J and I bought this wine from an estate winery in Lancaster county, PA on our 2-year-anniversary trip. J’s favorite wine is Chardonnay, and this is a very good one!

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Sawtooth Estate Winery Gewürztraminer – J and I got this at a little restaurant called the Wine Kitchen in Leesburg, VA. I can’t say how it compares against other Gewürztraminers, and it’s the only one I’ve every tried, but it was the favorite white of the evening.

REDS

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Louis Latour Pinot Noir – brought by a friend. Musty yet still fruity.

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Desert Wind Merlot – we received this wine from our housewarming party. Not as peppery as most merlot I’ve tried. Surprisingly fruity, while still being in the merlot family.

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B Side Cabernet Sauvignon – another gift from our housewarming party. Cabernet Sauvignon is R’s favorite wine. This wine was spicy and smooth. This received the most praise of the evening!

DESSERT

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Barefoot Bubbly Moscato Spumante – brought by a friend. Not my favorite, but with moscato you can’t really go wrong 🙂

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Romariz Port – brought by a friend. First time I’ve tried a port. Definitely sweet. It was the perfect pair to the strawberry cheesecake!

The food:

SAVORY
store bought: red grapes, green apples, crackers, marinated olives
homemade: curried mixed nuts (from the Big Book of Appetizers, BBA), pear, prosciutto, and gorgonzola bundles (BBA), roasted garlic and artichoke pizza (BBA), wild mushroom turnovers (BBA)
brought by friends: homemade fig and apricot jam, mini bruschetta

SWEET
store bought: dark chocolate pieces, Ghirardelli assorted chocolates
homemade: red velvet mini cupcake with cream cheese frosting, chocolate bundt cake topped with chocolate port wine sauce and powdered sugar
brought by friends: european chocolate cookies, baked cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake

DRINKS
for non-alcoholic drinks, we provided ice water and “pomegranate sparkler” (just 7-up and pomegranate juice – but that’s my little secret ;))

The cheese:

We had a WIDE variety of cheeses!

soft: French brie, goat cheese
medium: young gouda, smoked dutch cheese, muenster
hard: 1000 day gouda, 7 year aged cheddar, cinco lanzas, brebirousse
sweet: chocolate cheddar (from Trader Joe’s, it sounds weird, but it was really good!), and dried cranberries and cinnamon goat cheese (Costco, amazingly good)

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The details:

What makes a party really pop? It’s all in the details!

I wanted to provide some way to mark the wine glasses, but charms are so expensive! I’ve seen the chalkboard base, which is cute, but it’s a bit permanent for one party, and I’m not sure I want all my wine glasses painted in chalkboard. I finally went to Michael’s and bought some hoops from their jewelry department (10 for $1), and cut out circles in red, white, gold, and green. Everyone could make their own, and fasten them to the glasses. I filled one wine glass with old corks and mini sparkly ornaments to draw attention to the name tags:
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I made little liners for the serving trays by just cutting out construction paper, and covering with contact paper. Just something simple, but gives a little pop of color as the food disappears!

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For favors, I made small bags of Christmas goodies for everyone. I made:

ginger bread cookies with white chocolate
sugar peanut butter cup cookies (looked like this and baked in a mini muffin tin, but following this recipe – it needs more flour then stated, but turned out well)
salted toffee pretzel bark (#8 the recipe says to let the dark chocolate cool before adding the white chocolate, but I found it separated when I broke up the bark. It came out a lot better when I melted the chocolate, topped with pretzels and toffee, pressed them in, drizzled on the melted white chocolate, re-topped, and then cooled the bark – it looked much better and stayed together)
cookies and cream peppermint popcorn (this is a HUGE recipe – I only make 1/2)
brownie pops (I made this recipe #6, but skipped the ganache. I baked the brownies, let them cool, cut into 1″ squares, mashed into a ball and put in the sticks, froze the pops, then covered in dark chocolate and dipped in crushed peppermint)
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About casadezhang

J and I got married in August 2010, and purchased our first house in May 2012. I decided to start a blog so I can ramble on about all the thing I find interesting. How is this different than any other home/life blog? It's probably not - but I just like to talk :). I'm not the best at updating my blogs, but I'll try to update at least once a week, or whenever anything interesting happens :).
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